The rise of on-demand logistics in Cape Town

Cape Town has been coined the startup capital of the continent, the most connected city, and the silicon Cape of Africa (Genome, 2017, cited in Pollio, 2020). In recent years, and in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more startups have become interested in last-mile delivery and on-demand services. Increasingly, there has been an interest in delivery technologies, their accompanying business models, and the use of motorcycles and riders to complete these tasks.

This report complements research conducted on platform-enabled two-wheel logistics entitled Platform Politics and Silicon Savannahs: The rise of on-demand logistics and mobility in Nairobi and Kigali (Sitas et al, 2022). In the same way, this report, shares valuable insights on how the use of motorcycles reconfigures urban mobility, governance and economies due to the introduction of platform-based systems and the rise in platformisation of on-demand logistics. It is important to note that, unlike Nairobi and Kigali, in Cape Town motorcycles are not used for commuter movement but entirely for food delivery, grocery delivery, and courier services. Another important insight is that Cape Town has not had the kind of explosive transition to motorcycles as have Nairobi and Kigali. Nonetheless, due to the proliferation of on-demand logistics and last-mile delivery platforms across African cities, and certainly in Cape Town, more and more motorcycles can be seen on the city streets than ever before.